Pontins manager tells inquest into father's death she felt undertrained

Paul Reynolds, from Colchester

Paul Reynolds, from Colchester, who died after being restrained at Pontins in Pakefield - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/PA WIRE

The duty manager of a Pontins holiday site in Suffolk told an inquest she felt she did not have enough training prior to an incident which led to a father of three's death.

Julia Conquest was giving evidence at an inquest into the death of Colchester man Paul Reynolds, which resumed on Monday morning. 

Mr Reynolds, also known as Paul Gladwell, died two days after being detained by security staff at the Pontins holiday park site in Pakefield in February 2017, where he was later arrested by Suffolk police after an altercation with another family staying at the holiday park.

On the night of the incident, Miss Conquest was the highest ranking member of staff on site.

She told the inquest that she had entered the ballroom to tell bar staff to call last orders for the evening when she came across the altercation. 

Miss Conquest had previously worked in security at Pontins prior to moving roles.

Despite this, Miss Conquest decided not to intervene directly in the incident as her security industry qualification, an Security Industry Authority (SIA), was lapsed.

Instead, she attempted to help other staff remove Mr Reynolds' partner Carrie Bennett, but after failing to calm her down she left to call and guide police to the ballroom.

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Miss Conquest said she and other support staff had asked for more "role specific training" during her time at the holiday camp.

She said that Pontins had agreed to this but this had not happened.

Pontins policy at the time required the highest ranking member of staff to take charge of incidents on site.

Miss Conquest said she was not aware of this as she'd been left to "learn on the job", having only taken on the duty manager role in August 2016.

She also told the inquest that she did not remember any training on the risks associated with physical intervention, while training with the SIA, particularly positional asphyxia, until she had looked it up after the incident when training in security.

Miss Conquest told the court that she also wasn't aware that David Foster, who had restrained Mr Reynolds alongside Tim Cator Durrant, did not have a valid SIA license and was not working on the night.

Despite this, Miss Conquest said she trusted both men and said their level of experience in the industry outweighed her own. 

Asked what she would have done differently in hindsight, Miss Conquest told the inquest she would have taken over from Mr Cator Durrant.

The inquest, which is being heard before a jury and is expected to last four weeks, continues.

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